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Tuesday June 2, 2009

Hanoi and KL reach broad understanding on sea claims

JEJU (South Korea): Malay­sia and Vietnam have reached a “broad understanding” to resolve their overlapping claims in the South China Sea, including parts of the Spratly Islands, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

He said both countries had “more or less” sorted out the portions each country owned in the stretch of waters through a joint submission to the United Nations (UN) to extend their maritime territories.

The joint submission, which was lodged with the United Nations on May 6, was made under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea procedures for countries seeking to extend their continental shelf limits beyond the original 200 nautical mile limit.

“We have reached a broad understanding through the joint submission. It is more or less sorted out,” Najib told Malaysian journalists yesterday.

Najib had earlier met his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung on the sidelines of the Asean-South Korea Commemora-tive Summit.

He said the Vietnamese leader viewed the joint submission as a sign of the good bilateral relations between the two countries.

Najib added that the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Malaysia and Vietnam in the area would be done in accordance with international law principles.

On China’s protest over the joint submission, Najib said there were mechanisms within the international law to resolve the problem.

“There are mechanisms for us to discuss with China,” he said, adding that he did not think it would affect China-Malaysia bilateral relations.

China had immediately filed a note to the UN protesting the Malaysia-Vietnam joint submission, claiming that the waters belonged to it.

Besides China, Malaysia and Vietnam, other countries claiming the same area of the South China Sea are Brunei, Philippines and Taiwan.

Najib said Nguyen also called for more Malaysian investments in Vietnam, such as through the involvement in the development of an industrial park.

He added that a Malaysian company had invested in the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel in Hanoi.

On Malaysian investments in South Korea, Najib said projects like the Berjaya Resort in Jeju by the Berjaya Group showed that Malaysian companies were able to be global players.

Earlier, Najib visited the 74ha resort where two international hotels, a convention centre and villas were being constructed.

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